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Chinese Classics


Three Word Scripture

Men at their birth are naturally good. Their natures are much the same, but their habits might be widely different.

If there is no teaching, one's nature will deteriorate. The right way in teaching is to attach the utmost importance in thoroughness.

The mother of Mencius chose a nicer neighborhood to live. And if Mencius did not learn, she would break a shuttle from the loom.

Do of the Swallow Mountain had a good method to teach his five sons, and the reputation of his family was then raised.

It is the father's fault to feed without teaching, whereas it would be the teacher's laziness if he/she teaches without severity.

It is not as it should be if a child does not learn. If he/she doesn't learn while he/she is still young, what will he/she be when he/she gets old?

Jade cannot become a thing of use if it is not polished, whereas a man cannot know his duty towards his neighbor if he does not learn.

When one is young as someone's son, he should stay close to his teachers and friends and practice ceremonial usages and etiquettes.

Hsiang could warm the bed for his parents when he was only nine years old. Filial piety towards our parents is something we should hold first.

Rong could yield bigger pears to his old brothers when he was only four years old. To behave as a younger brother towards elder siblings is one of the first things to know.

We should begin with filial piety and fraternal love, and then see and hear things. Then, learn to count and to read.

Numbers are from one, to tens; ten to hundreds; hundred to thousands; and thousands to 10 thousands.

The three forces are the Heaven, Earth, and human beings. The three luminaries are the Sun, Moon, and stars.

Three three bonds are the obligation between sovereign and subject, the love between father and child(ren), and the harmony between husband and wife.

The four seasons, spring, summer, autumn, and winter, revolve without ceasing.

The four points, South, North, West, and East, respond to the requirements of the center.

The five elements, water, fire, wood, metal, and earth, have their origin in number.

The five virtues, benevolence, loyalty, etiquette/manner, wisdom, and trust, do not admit any compromises.

Rice, spike millet, pulse, wheat, glutinous millet, and common millet are six grains that we (human) eat.

The six animals that we (human) have are the horses, ox, sheep, chickens, dogs, and pigs.

Joy, anger, sadness, fear, love, dislike, and desire are the seven passions that we human beings have.

The eight musical sounds are the ground, earthenware, skin wood, stone metal, silk, and bamboo.

The nine generations are from great great grandfather, great grandfather, grandfather, father, self, son, and grandson, great grandson, and great great grandson. And this is the kinships of human.

The ten obligations/principles are common to all human:
Affection between father and child;
Harmony between husband and wife;
Friendliness on the part of elder brothers;
Respectfulness on the part of younger brothers;
Precedence between elder and younger siblings;
Being friendly to friends;
Respect on the part of the sovereign;
Loyalty on the part of the subject.

There should be explanation and elucidation, careful teaching of the interpretations of commentators, and enough attention to good paragraphs and sentences in the education for the youths.

Those who are learners must have a beginning in their learning process. After finishing the Little Learning written by Zhu-xi, they shall proceed to the Four Books.

The Analects has twenty chapters of wise sayings of Confucius which were recorded and written by Confucius' disciples.

The works of Mencius consists seven chapters. It talks about morality, virtues, benevolence, and loyalty.

The Doctrine of the Means is written by Zi-si. Zhong means right in the middle and does not lean toward neither side. Yung means things should not be changed.

Zeng-zi wrote the Great Learning. It begins with cultivation of the individual and ordering of the family, and continues to government of one's own state and ordering of the family.

When the Classic of Filial Piety is mastered and the Four Books are known well, then the next step is to read and study the Six Classics.

The Six Classics are the Book of Poetry, the Book of History, the Book of Changes, the Rites of Zhou Dynasty, the Book of Music, and the Spring and Autumn. These should be carefully explained and analyzed.

There are three systems that elucidate the changes: Lian-shan system, Gui-cang system, and the system of changes of Zhou Dynasty.

There are regulations, counsels, instructions, announcements, oaths, charges in the Book of History and they are the profundities of the book.

Our Duke of Zhou Dynasty created the ritual of the Zhou Dynasty, set forth the futies of the six classes of officials, and gave a settled governmental form.

The elder and younger Dai wrote commentaries on the Book of Rites and published the hold words. The ceremonies and music were set in order.

There are four sections of the Book of Poetry that should be hummed over and over, and they are Guo-fong, Da-yai, Xiao-yai, and Song.

The three commentaries explain classics above include Gong-yang written by Gong Yang-gao, Left Zhuang written by Zuo Qiuo-ming, and Gu-liang zhuang written by Gu-liang Chi.

When the classics were understood, then the writings of the various philosophers should be read. Pick the important points in each and take notes on the facts.

The five well-known phlosophers are Shun Zi, Yang Zi, Wen-zhong Zi, Lao Zi, and Zhuang Zi.

When the classics and the philosophers' books are mastered, the various histories should then be read, and the genealogical connections should be examined, so that the end of one dynasty and the beginning of the next one could be known.

The Three Rulers are Fu-xi, Shen-nong, and Yellow Emperor, who lived in the early ages that is hard to investigate the facts and history due to the fact that there were no written records.

The Two Emperors are Yao in Tang and Shun in Yu. They both abdicated, one after the other, and their period of ruling time was called the Golden Age.

The Kings of three States/Dynasties are Yu in Xia, Tang in Shang, and Wen and Wu in Zhou.

After Xia, the throne was transmitted from father to son and the empire had become a family possession. After four hundred years, the imperial sacrifice passed from the Xia to another dynasty. 

Tang (the first king of the Shang Dynasty) destroyed the Xia Dynasty due to the fact that the last king of the Xia was a despotic ruler, and started a new dynasty called Shang. After about six hundred years of ruling, the dynasty ended at Zhou's ruling.

King Wu started the dynasty of Zhou by destroying Shang because of the last king King Zhou's ruling badly. It lasted eight hundred and seventy-four years and is the dynasty that lasted longest in our history.

When the Zhou made tracks eastwards, the feudal bond was slackened, the arbitrary of spear and shields prevailed, and peripatetic politicians were held in high esteem.

This period began with the Spring and Autumn Epoch and ended with the Warring States. Then the Five Chieftains domineered, and the Seven Martial States came to the front.

Then the first Emperor, whose last name is Ying, united all the states under sway, but the Empire only lasted to the second generation and was destroyed by Xiang Yu and Liou Bang later on. We call this period of time the battle between Chu and Han.

Then Han Gao Zu arose and the Han was established until Xiao-ping. At that time, Wang Mang usurped the throne.

Then, Guang Wu arose and established East Han Dynasty. It lasted about four hundred years and ended with the Emperor Xian.

Then, Wei (Cao Cao and Cao Pi), Shu (Liu Bei), and Wu (Sun Quang) fought for the sovereignty of the Han's. They were called the Three Kingdoms and existed until the Two Jin Dynasties.

After about one hundred years, Liu Yu seized the scepter from the Emperor An and the Time of South and North became. The Southern dynasties are South (Nan) Song, South (Nan) Qi, South (Nan) Liang, and South (Nan) Chen, and the capitals the four all were located in Jin-ling (now Nan-jing).

The northern dynasty is the Yuan Wei and laster on split into East Wei and West Wei. Shortly, Yu Wen-zhou usurped the throne of the West Wei and established North Zhou, and Gao Yang usurped the throne of the East Wei and established North Chi.

Until Yang Jian established Sui Dynasty, the split of the world finally ended. The throne was transmitted to Yang Jian's son, Yang Guang, and never passed down to another generation. Within 38 years of the empire, it finally ended by Yang Guang's bad ruling.

Sui Dynasty was destroyed by Li Yuan, who later established Tang Dynasty and was called Tang Gao Zu. It lasted two hundred and eighty-nine years.

The throne of Tang was transmitted twenty times and the dynasty lasted about three hundred years until Zhu Chun-zhong arose and ended Tang Dynasty. The dynastic title was changed to Liang established by Zhu Chun-zhong.

The five dynasties in this period of time include Liang, Tang, Jin, Han, and Zhou. In order to be distinguished from previous dynasties that have the same titles, these five dynasties were added Ho (Late) before their titles. There were reasons for their establishment and why they were ended.

Then the Fire-Song arose and received the resignation of the throne of the Zhou Dynasty. The throne was transmitted eighteen times and ended by Yuan Dynasty. Finally the north and south were reunited by Yuan.

At that time, Liao and Jin both occupied a part of China's territory. Then, Jin ended Liao. Later until Yuan Tai-zong ended Jin, and Yuan Shi-zu, Hu Bi-lie, ended South Song and established Yuan Dynasty.

After about ninety years of ruling the empire, Yuan was ended by Zhu Yuan-zhang, who later established Ming Dynasty, named the year title Hong-wu and  located the capital in Jin-ling (now Nan-jing).

Until Ming Tai-zu, the capital was relocated in Yian-jing (now Beijing) and the throne was transmitted sixteen times until Chong-zhen. The reason why Ming ended was because of the eunuchs' seizing the power and the country's full of robbers. A good example is robber Li Zi-cheng who called himself King Chuang. The Ming was followed by Qing Dynasty.

Qing Shi-zu, Shun Zi was the first emperor of Qing Dynasty after Man Clan came to what we so called Zhong-yuan (China's territory). He brought peace to the empire. Later the throne was transmitted to Kang-xi, then Yong-zheng, Qian-long, Jia-qing. The world was peaceful.

Until the time of Dao-guang and Xian-fong, turmoil arose and foreign invasions came from England and France. After Tong-guang, the time of Shuan-tong was weak. Shuan-tong was the nieth emperor of Qing and the empire ended when he was ruling.

Revolutions arose, the empirical system was abrogated, a constitution was established, and tehn Ming-guo started since then. The history starts from the Three Emperors until Qing Dynasty is recorded here. From the recorded each dynasty's ruling and governing ways. the reasons of arisen and end could be understood and the lessons could be learned from the good and bad governmental rulings.

Whoever reads the history must study the Annals. Hence, one will understand ancient and modern events, as having seen them with his/her own eyes.

Recite them and ponder them over in your hearts. Do this in the morning and evening.

Confucius took Xiang-to as his teacher. The ancient saints and sages all studied diligently nevertheless.

Zhao, the president of the Council, studied the Lu Test of the Analects. He studied with diligence when he was already an official.

One opened out rushes and plaited them together, whereas another scraped tablets of bamboo. These men had no books/education, but they knew how to make an effort.

One tied his head to the bean above him; another one pricked his thigh with an awl. They were not taught, but toiled hard of their own accord.

There was someone back then put fireflies in a bag in order to read. Another one used the white glare from snow as a light to read. Although their families were poor, they did not stop learning. Instead, they studied unceasingly.

There were someone carried fuel and another one used horns and pegs. Although they toiled with their bodies, they were nevertheless remarkable for their application.

Su Lao-chuan began to show his energy towards learning and devoted himself to the study of books when he was twenty-seven.

If you already passed the age of learning, you will probably regret deeply for the delay. You little children should earlier take the timing into consideration.

Then there was someone called Liang Hao. When he was eighty-two, he made his replies to the great hall and came out first among many scholars.

Although he had succeeded late, all men thought him a prodigy. You little boys should make up your minds what to do in the future.

Ying could compose poetry when he was only eight. Qin could make an epigram on Wei-qi (Chinese checker) when he was only seven.

These youths were quick on apprehension and people declared them to be prodigies. You young learners ought to imitate them and follow their steps.

Cai Wen-ji was able to distinguish the sound of a psaltery. Xie Dao-yun could compose verses. They were only girls, yet they were quick and clever. You boys should rouse yourselves.

Liu Yen of Tang Dynasty was ranked as an inspired child when he was only seven years old. He was also appointed a Corrector of Texts.

He, although was only a child, was already in an official position. You young learners strive to bring about alike result. Those who work will also succeed as he did.

The dog guards at night, and the cock proclaims the dawn. If you do not study/learn, how can you become men?

The silkworm produces silk, and the bees make honey. If we men do not learn, we are not equal to the brutes.

We should learn while we are still young. Then we can apply what we have learned after we grow up. By doing so, up to the sovereign and down to we people can benefit from it.

Make good reputation for ourselves and have our parents being proud of us. Then we can shed luster on our ancestors and enrich our posterity.

People usually bequeath to their children coffers of gold, but I am different. I left them one book, three-word sutra, in order to teach them to study and the way of being a better person.

Diligence has its reward and play has no advantages. Be your own guard and put forth your strength.



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